Peter Haden


Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.

He holds a Master of Mass Communication degree from Arizona State University's Cronkite School and bachelor's degrees in Geography and International Studies from the University of Iowa.

After growing up on an Iowa sheep farm, Peter has lived and worked in Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Washington D.C., Georgia, Arizona and Florida.

His current mission is to tell the greatest stories on earth - in three minutes and thirty seconds.

Peter Haden / WJCT

  A monthlong tournament has just kicked off to see who can take the most lionfish out of Northeast Florida waters. State wildlife officials are promoting similar tournaments around the state to thin out the invasive species’ numbers.

Divers at Jacksonville’s Mudville Grille signed up last week to prey on the spiny predator.

Benjamin Messinese, an Atlantic Beach resident, says you don’t have to think to catch a lionfish.

“They’re all over the place. They’re not skittish, they’re not scared,” Messiese said. “They sit still. They’re right there in front of you.”

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Early voting began Monday in Jacksonville city elections.

African-American pastors held a get-out-the-vote rally at an early-voting location on the city’s Northside.

Residents can transform Jacksonville — socially, spiritually and economically — if they go to the polls and vote.

That’s the message a group of Baptist Ministers from around the First Coast are trying to drive home.

Duval Baptist Ministers Conference President Darien Bolden says economic, education and criminal justice policies have been unfair toward African-Americans in Jacksonville.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s annual World of Nations Celebration is in full swing at Metropolitan Park through Sunday.

Representatives of 34 nations are at the festival this year eager to tell visitors the best thing about their countries.

Lordania Foreman says the best thing about Romania is how it takes influences from all of the people that have invaded it throughout history, including the Huns, the Tatars and the Turks.

Yi Rian says the best thing about China is the celebrations.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

More than 20,000 people are expected in downtown Jacksonville this weekend as the city hosts five major events geared toward families and sports fans.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

A recent surge in gang violence has Jacksonville city officials scrambling for solutions. The mayor and sheriff are pushing separate initiatives to attack the problem.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown made his announcement Wednesday at a Northwest Jacksonville community center surrounded by clergymen.  

“Enough is enough. We are not going to tolerate the violence in our city,” Brown said.

Then, Brown gave a strong warning:

“What’s happening in Baltimore can happen in Jacksonville if we don’t do what we need to do.”

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Duval County Public Schools are rolling out a new, $15 million program to address mental health issues in middle school students.

School superintendent Nikolai Vitti made the announcement Tuesday at Jefferson Davis Middle School on the Westside.

“When we think about public schools, K-12, we think of reading, math and science. We don’t think about mental health,” Vitti said. “Yet, a lot of the issues we see demonstrated on the surface on a disciplinary level are linked to mental health issues.”

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Hundreds of Jacksonville high school students gathered at Edward Waters College Friday for the third annual Operation Save Our Sons Summit. The day’s events reinforced why the Summit was started in the first place: to challenge young men to think differently.

Changing the culture

City of Jacksonville

A new plan is on the table to solve the City of Jacksonville’s $1.6 billion pension woes.

Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford announced his proposal for Police and Fire Pension Reform at City Hall Thursday.

The plan calls for many of the same pension benefits as one the City Council rejected last month. But in Gulliford's version, the city would agree not to make further changes to employees' pensions for seven years. Gulliford previously opposed this measure but said times are desperate.

Peter Haden / WJCT

A major U.S. airline is giving $100,000 to promote a public space in downtown Jacksonville.

Southwest Airlines chose Hemming Park as one of six public spaces nationwide to receive the grant as part of the 2015 Heart of the Community Program — a partnership between the airline and the Project for Public Spaces.

Hemming Park director Vince Cavin says he’ll seek input from the public on how to use the money.

Sandra Friend / US Department of Agriculture - Forest Service

Mayor Alvin Brown’s Port Task Force has voted in support of breaching a Putnam County dam as an offset for proposed deepening of the Jacksonville Harbor.

A coalition of Jacksonville business and environmental advocates say removing the dam will flush millions of gallons of fresh water into the St. Johns River each day. They say that would offset environmental damage caused by the proposed dredging of Jacksonville’s port.

Meanwhile, advocates for keeping the dam, and the man-made lake behind it, say it acts as a water filter keeping pollution from flowing downstream.

ship at JAXPORT

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s port task force voted this week in support of deepening the Jacksonville Harbor and increasing offsets for environmental harm that may result. What they did not decide was how to pay for the projects.

The task force voted seven-to-one that dredging the port — from 40 feet to 47 feet to accommodate Asian “megaships” — makes good sense for the city.

They estimate $380 million must come from state and local governments but stopped short of outlining a funding plan.

A First Coast company is considering expanding its Northside manufacturing operations with a financial boost from the City of Jacksonville.

The Safariland Group wants to expand its manufacturing plant near the Jacksonville International Airport. Plans call for investing more than a $1 million for upgrades and hiring up to 30 people by the end of the year.

Kristen Sell, a spokeswoman for the city said, “They’ve been a local company here for many many years.”

Peter Haden / WJCT News

A Jacksonville pilot program for early-childhood education is getting national attention. Educators from around the country are in town to learn about early learning coaches.

Officials from six cities came to the Jacksonville Children’s Commission Thursday to get schooled on CoachJax.

“We are the first city and county in Florida that has certified early learning coaches,“ said Ginger Peacock-Preston, director of early learning and intervention programs at the Jacksonville Children’s Commission.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

A Jacksonville man is in stable condition after being shot by two undercover narcotics detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Wednesday night on Jacksonville’s Westside.

JSO Director Tom Hackney says two officers were stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Fouracre Road and Wilson Boulevard just before 6:30 Wednesday evening when they saw 20-year-old Christopher Green screaming and waving a gun at a group of men.

When the officers pulled over and got out of their car, Green put the gun in his waistband, Hackney says.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

The City of Jacksonville celebrated Edward Waters College Day Wednesday, the 149th anniversary of the school’s founding. Mayor Alvin Brown declared the holiday in an official proclamation.

EWC President and former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover says the bravery of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in founding the institution can not be understated.